Sunday, December 17, 2017

Claude on the Big Screen by Alex T. Smith: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Claude takes care of the important work of hanging his costumes out to dry, with his trusty sidekick, Sir Bobblysock, supervising from his lounge chair. After the work is over, Claude pulls out his new trampoline and the shenanigans begin. With each bounce he gets a view of the action on Waggy Avenue where he sees a gorilla sporting a cup of tea and his curiosity gets the best of him. Why would a gorilla be drinking a cup of tea?

With Sir Bobblysock bouncing along beside him, Claude shoves the trampoline in his trusty beret and heads toward the action on Waggy Avenue. Tripping over the clothesline doesn't slow Claude down. He shoves it with all of the costumes inside of his beret too. His excitement builds when he finds Waggy Avenue lined with cameras, spotlights, and microphones. An invitation to watch the filming a movie lands Claude a front row seat. Unfortunately, his inability to sit still shuts out the lead actor and actress. Will Claude and Sir Bobblysocks have what it takes to save the movie?

As always, Claude's zaniness leads to chuckles which turn to laughter with the continued absurdity of his antics. The ever endearing Claude, with his snazzy sweater and classy beret, help the young reader navigate from the picture book into the next reading level through bizarre and lighthearted fun.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (October 2017)
ISBN: 978-1-68263-009-9
Ages 7-9 (Early Chapter Book)

This book can be purchased through Amazon.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell Book Review

Book received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

When their plane crashes in the Amazon rain forest on their way back to England, Fred, Con, Lila and Lila's brother, 5 year-old Max fight to survive. Finding shelter and edible fruits poses proves challenging for the inexperienced children. Through their resourcefulness, the children find things like mixing ground up grubs and cocoa give them a paste and the protein they need for survival.

Max stumbles onto a map and convinces the other children to follow it to the X. The course of their adventure presents new dangers from predators and the elements. They manage to build a makeshift raft and travel down the river where they discover the remnants of an ancient city. To their surprise, a mysterious lives amongst the ruins. He refuses to give the children his name but Max assumes he is the missing explorer from 1925. Does the explorer hold the key to the children's chance at rescue?

Rundell captures the beauty of the Amazon through vivd description of everything from the lush vegetation to the smells of the rainforest. Both the setting and adventure will captivate the reader and perhaps motivate further exploration. It may also inspire the reader to gain further understanding of the effects of imperialism in the Amazon. Despite the lack of depth in the characters, the suspense will hold interest to the end.
Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon and Shuster Books for Young Readers (Sept. 12, 2017)
ISBN: 9781481419451
Ages: 8-12

Purchase this book HERE.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Point Guard (Home Team #3) by Mike Lupica Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Gus can't wait for the basketball season to get underway. Being from the Dominican Republic, those around him expect him to be a baseball guy but his skills on the basketball court back up his confidence. With his friends Jack and Teddy trying out for the team, Gus looks forward to an awesome season.

Tryouts don't go as planned when his friend Cassie shows up to try out for the boys team. Cassie excels in many sports the 8th grade boys basketball team proves no exception. As Gus grapples with mixed feelings of having to answer to a girl and trying to maintain his friendship with Cassie, he is forced to question his place on the team.

Those who love sports will have no problem relating to the dynamics between the players. Even though the story touches on some side social themes, it does lack depth at times. Otherwise, a solid story.

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers (April 4, 2017)
ISBN: 9781481410038
Ages: 8-12

This book can be purchased on AMAZON.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pablo and Birdy by Alison McGhee and Ilustrated by Ana Juan Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
As an infant, Pablo arrived on the Island of Isla nestled in an inflatable swimming pool with nothing but his lavender parrot to protect him. Adopted by Emmanuel and embraced by the locals, Pablo grows weary of the stories they tell about where he came from. After 10 years, Pablo wants the truth.

Although Pablo doesn't want to hear about the possibility of being a pirate baby or coming from a place where people live underground anymore, one legend intrigues him: The legend of the Seafaring Parrot. Pablo dares to wonder if his parrot, Birdy could be the bird of the legend. But Birdy can't talk or fly and the locals insist that the Seafarer remembers every sound. At the time that Birdy starts to mumble, strong winds begin to blow on Isla which makes Pablo ponder the saying: winds of change mean fortune lost or fortune gained. 

While Pablo seeks courage and tries to find his place in the world, a scraggly dog looks for love and acceptance. The committee, a group of parrots all with distinct personalities, add humor to the poignant search of belonging. Be ready to shed a tear or two in this endearing tale of friendship, courage, and loss. Detailed illustrations capture the sweetness of a beautifully written novel.

Rating ★★★★

Publishing Information

Publisher: A Caitlyn Dloughy Book/Atheneum (August 22, 2017)
ISBN: 978-1481470261
Ages: 8-12

This book can be purchased from the following retailer:

Friday, October 6, 2017

Charlie Bumpers Vs. His Big Blabby Mouth by Bill Harley and Illustrated by Adam Gustavson: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Career Week has everyone buzzing about whose parents will come to speak to their class. With his classmates bragging about their parent's jobs, Charlie can't help but open his blabby mouth about his dad's work. Unfortunately, he leaves the impression that his dad is president of his company and that he will bring calculators to the entire class when he comes to speak for Career Week.

Not only does Charlie have to convince his dad to come to school, he has to deal with his dad losing his job during the fiasco he created. Charlie wishes he would have kept his mouth shut. Will his dad even make it to Career Week? And if he does, what will his classmates think of him? 

 Charlie learns the hard way that words or lack of them can create conflict. The reluctant reader will easily relate to Charlie's predicament and the way his family works through it together emphasizes the importance of home and family.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (September 2017)
ISBN: 978-156145-940-7
Ages: 7-10

Book can be purchased from the following retailer: 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Finding Mighty by Sheela Chari: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
What starts at a misunderstanding at school, ends up bringing twelve-year-olds Myla and Peter together to solve the disappearance of Peter's brother, Randall and the connection it has to Myla's missing necklace.

As Myla and Peter follow the graffiti trail left behind by Randall, they discover family secrets that involve stolen diamonds, mysterious deaths, and a dangerous gang who will stop at nothing to find  Randall and the hidden diamonds.

Story alternates between first person which gives greater insight to Myla, Peter and Randall thoughts and actions. The backdrop of New York and Dobb's Ferry with the emphasis on graffiti art will strike a cord to inner city youth. While the plot feels contrived at times, the action takes has the reader anxiously running with the characters through darkened streets, hoping they can dodge not only shady gang members but also cops. A solid mystery for the middle school reader.


Publishing Information
Publisher: Amulet Books (May 30, 2017)
ISBN: 9781419722967
Pages: 272

Book can be purchased from the following retailer:

Friday, September 29, 2017

About Habitats: Seashores by Cathryn Still and Illustrated by John Still: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Simple language and realistic watercolor paintings merge the world where water meets land. From the white sand beaches of the Indian Ocean to the rocky beaches of the Pacific Ocean, readers are not only introduced to the beauty of the coastlines those beaches represent but also to the plants and animals that thrive in the coastal environments.

For the young reader who ever wondered where sea lions take naps, Seashores will provide the answer. Each picture or plate contains descriptive back matter at the end of the story that provide the most curious a chance to discover even more about seashores that the straightforward text provides. The budding environmentalist will love the depiction of the natural formations and wildlife of the undeveloped shores.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 2017)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-968-1
Ages 3-7

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Miguel's Brave Knight by Margarite Engle and Raúl Colón

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
The imaginative and brilliant mind of Miguel de Cervantes created one of the greatest masterpieces of Spanish literature, Don Quixote. While many admire the brave antics of the fictional Don Quixote, few know the real story of the author who created him.

The son of a vagabond barber-surgeon, Miguel de Cevantes spent much of his young life moving from place to place, fleeing the collectors after his father. Margaret Engle delves into the mind of young Miguel through fictional first person biographical verse. In doing so, she introduces the reader to thought provoking themes like poverty and censorship.

Raúl Colón's pen and ink and watercolor illustrations add depth to the life of one of the greatest storytellers of all time. A perfect way to introduce a new generation to a literary genius and maybe even inspire new writers.

Rating ★★★★★

Publishing Information
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (October 2017)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-856-1
Ages: 8-12

Book can be purchased from the following: 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stanley's Numbers and Stanley's Opposites by williambee: Book Review

Books received at no charge to facilitate review.

Stanley and Little Woo have their five party hats and two cakes ready for their picnic. They will need picnic rugs to sit on and balloons and party flags for decorations. As for the food, how much milk and cheese will they need for all of their friends and just how many friends will attend the picnic?

Bright colors and simple lines will grab the attention of fidgety toddlers but the real fun is the chance to count along with Stanley and Little Woo. When at last the friends are gathered for their picnic, the page explodes with lots of fun things to count. Not only do Stanley and Woo know how to put on a picnic, they also know how to score, one, two, three, four, five... yes five stars for their book.
5 hurrahs for Stanley and Woo.

Stanley and his friends don't stop with a picnic. First Stanley sleeps and then awakens. The fun starts when Little Woo gets in the water and Stanley stays out. Then it's off to the lake in canoes where Stanley sports a long canoe while Little Woo sticks with a short one. They even try their hands at building a snowman. Can you guess who will build the big one and who will build the small?

Once again, simple illustrations with vibrant colors attract attention while adorable characters make learning irresistible. A great companion to Stanley's Numbers. The sturdy board books will hold up to repeat reading requests from snuggly early readers.

Rating ★★★★★

Publishing Information

Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (Aug. 1, 2017)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-976-6 (Stanley's Numbers)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-977-3
Pages: 20
Ages: 2-6

Both books can be purchased at the following retailers:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Quinn Neen finds that the planet of Fosaan is a far cry than the tropical paradise the scientists and their families expected. The planet's dangerous terrain is in step with the horrible sulfur smell. Sixteen-year-old Quinn hardly notices as he is more interested in ignoring the rules and wandering off to study the planet's animals

As if the rule of staying inside the Earther's settlements wasn't hard enough to follow, Quinn's coincidental encounter with a Fosaanian girl named Mira in his family's kitchen stealing food leaves him breaking another rule of non-engagement with the people of Fosaan. Quinn encourages Mira to stay by giving her food and whatever else she needs for her sister. Before he can get to know her better the scientists, who are in orbit in their labs, are taken captive leaving the teens and the younger children alone on the planet with no communication to deal with the problem. To top it off, the Fosaanians accuse the Earthers of intentionally setting of the volcanoes that wrecked havoc on their planet nearly three hundred years ago.

Not only does Quinn have to convince Mira to trust him, he must convince the teens and children to work together to overpower the space raiders who want to destroy them. Plenty of action and great characters blend to create a solid young adult sci-fi novel. A talking parrot adds some humor to the dialogue that naturally flows well. Author Dee Garretson successfully uses description to build a world easy to visualize for teens and tweens.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Month9Books (February 2017)
Series: Torch World Book One
ISBN 13- 978-1944816513
Pages 286
Ages: 12-16

This book can be purchased through the following retailer:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 Picture Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Just in time for the end of a school year comes a sweet tale of teacher who is leaving her school and how it effects her students.

Oh no! Mrs. McBee has just told her class that she won't be returning to school after summer vacation and a "great sigh echoes down the halls." The children worry that Mrs. McBee will never get to hear them read or even see them again. But there is no time to fret about her leaving. They have room that needs to be cleaned before summer break. The lively mix of children get to work with strong-willed Jamaika taking charge while pointing out that one boy, William is not helping.

William has something else up his sleeve and puts together a stack of pictures of the pictures for everyone to remember their great year together. Mrs. McBee has one more surprise to share.

The richly colored illustrations aptly capture the mix of children and personalities with plenty of activity which any child would love to participate. The story captures both the excitement of the end of a school year as well as the twinge of sadness that happens when one has to leave a beloved teacher behind. A great way to help a child learn to say goodbye in those early school years.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Peachtree Publishers (April 2017)
Written by Gretchen Brandenburg McLelland
Illustrated by Grace Zong
ISBN: 978-1-56145-944-5
Ages: 3-7

This book can be purchased through the following retailer:

Monday, May 8, 2017

Flowers For Sarajevo Picture Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Working in the marketplace with his father, Drasko marvels at his father's ability to sniff out the best flowers. He is also amazed at how his father has no trouble giving them away to even the crankiest merchants. Together the father and son work side by side with people of different backgrounds - Serb and Croat, Muslim and Christian. When war breaks out, Drasko must run the flower stand by himself.     He rejoices at having the best seat in the square as he sits near the building where the orchestra practices.

Drasko witnesses an event that changes his life and those around him when a mortar hits the nearby bakery, killing 22 people. In the depths of despair, Drasko watches one lone man enter the square. The cellist from the symphony plays the same song every day for 22 days for each of those killed in the attack.

From the ashes of despair rise the song of hope. And from that song, hearts slowly heal to bring people together again.

A touching tribute to real life events told from eyes of the fictional Drasko. The illustrations aptly capture the change of moods during the somber time. The accompanying CD with Vedran Smailovic, the real life "Cellist of Sarajevo"performing the piece he played in the square in 1992 bring the story to life in a way that captures the soul. A sensitive and touching way to introduce the young reader to a heartbreaking historical event.

Publishing Information

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (April 2017)
Written by John McCutcheon
Illustrated by Kristy Caldwell
ISBN: 978-1-56145-943-8
Ages: 7-10

This book can be purchased from the following:

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book Review: Zebra on the Go by Jill Nogales & Lorraine Rocha

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Take your seats and get ready for the show.
And quite the show it is.
With "cameras flashing and Zebra dashing" what could go wrong?
When Zebra steps on Lion's toe, hi temper soars and mayhem ensues. 
Away Lion goes chasing Zebra through crowds of people and across busy streets with the entire circus ensemble following after them. Lion chases Zebra past the pier right onto the docking boats and follows in his inflatable speed raft. Just when Lion nearly catches Zebra's boat his inflatable raft springs a leak and a nail biting rescue takes place where the most important thing saved is friendship.

The energetic chase punctuated with frolicking rhyme create a fun read aloud that can be shared again  and again without ever growing tired. As if the story wasn't fun enough, the lively illustrations offer bonus circus acts during the chase to the most observant reader. Wild, creative and fun, what more could you want in a read aloud?

Rating: ★★★★★

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Peachtree (April 2017)
Written by Jill Nogales
Illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
ISBN: 978-1-56145-911-7
Ages 4-8

This book can be purchased from the following:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Blog Tour: Leo, Dog of the Sea Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Originally a dog with no name, Leo has become adept at catching rats on ships. After four different voyages, he has also become adept at avoiding humans. When Leo sneaks onto the Trinidad, with Captain General Ferdinand Magellan and his crew, he finally gets a chance to develop friendships with a few of the crew members. Leo even gets his name after saving Marco, the stowaway's life.

The first person narrative through the eyes of Leo, the dog works well with historical fiction rich in detail of the hard life aboard the ships. From vivid descriptions of sailors suffering scurvy to the harsh treatment of the natives from Magellan, readers grasp some of the horrors endured by historical figures and the lands and people they discover. While the adventures in the story are enough to captivate a young audience, the detailed facts of Magellan's journey and the back story of the role of dogs in history make for a must read.

 Rating ★★★★★

Publishing Information:
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (April 2017)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-964-3
Ages: 7-10

This book can be purchased from the following retailer:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Outside Shot by Fred Bowen: Book Review & Giveaway

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

After spending years shooting hoops in his driveway, Richie Mallon's practice finally pays off when he makes his middle school basketball team. He looks forward to being the team's shooter but is disappointed when he is not a starter. His friend and team manager, Camila (Cammy), encourages Richie to step up his game by pointing out that though he may be great at shooting baskets, he lacks other important skills on the court. Her team stats back up her assertions that he could improve.

Cammy convinces her dad, who is the school custodian, to let them practice in the gym. Here she helps Richie work on his rebounds. She also joins Richie on runs. Thanks to Cammy's attention to detail and persistence, Richie finds ways he can improve but will it be enough to make a difference for this season?

Author Fred Bowen's knack for capturing action in play by play scenes will keep the sports fanatic glued to the pages. Solid character development by way of the coach's insistence that the players are family and Richie's realization that he has it a lot easier than some of the other boys on the team help expand the reader's world beyond basketball. A brief history of some of basketball's great shooters help cement the story as a solid read.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (March 1, 2017)
ISBN: 978-1561459551
Pages: 144
Ages: 8-11

This book can be purchased at the following retailers:

Shop Indie Bookstores

Book Giveaway Details:

Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form. Winner will receive a copy of Outside Shot by Fred Bowen from the publisher.  Giveaway ends 4/11/2017 at 11:59 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Stanley's Store by William Bee: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Stanley the hamster is back and hard at work getting ready for a busy day at his store. He's unloading fruits and vegetables from his truck while inside Hattie helps Myrtle find cheese, lots of cheese. It's a good thing for Myrtle that the store offers delivery. In the meantime, Shamus and Little Woo have plenty of groceries for Stanley to ring up. It looks like Little Woo got a little carried away with the sweets. Thanks to Charlie, not everything goes as planned at Stanley's store.

Bee's use of bright colors and bold illustrations capture the attention of the preschooler but the fun really belongs to Stanley. Who can't help but love this hardworking and charming hamster?

Rating ★★★★

Publishing Information

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (3/1/2017)
ISBN:  978-1-56145-868-4
Page Count: 32
Ages: 3-7

This book can be purchased from the following retailer:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Spurt by Chris Miles: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Jack Sprigley managed to get the raw end of the puberty deal. Not only is he a late-bloomer, he hasn't even sprouted which proves quite embarrassing for a ninth grader. It seems like all of his friends are leaps and bounds ahead of him in the manliness department.

When Jack feels abandoned by his friends over winter break, he handles it in the most cringeworthy way, by bragging how he masturbated the entire vacation. It wouldn't be so bad if Jack kept his conversations among the guys, but the readers can't help but squirm when the girls are included in his big talk to prove he's normal.

As if Jack hasn't proven he's socially awkward enough, he tries to prove his popularity by appearing on a reality T.V. show and presenting a mature and improved version of himself. What starts out what's supposed to be a funny look at the pitfalls of puberty, gets lost in the change of direction.

The novel has a few moments that might elicit some uncomfortable laughs, including a clever reversible cover. The novel is billed as a Judy Blume for boys but it lacks the heart of its predecessor that allows the reader to really connect with the protagonist. The story starts out promising but ends up getting off track.

Word of warning: Let the reader find this one without guidance or he may never look you in the face again.

Rating ★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers (February 7, 2017)
ISBN: 978-1-481479721
Ages: 11-14

This book can be purchased at the following retailer.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan: Picture Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

When Cado Fairchilds died, he left his estate to his wife, Mary, who has it appraised so she can sell it and return to England. Sadly, her property consists of eleven slaves and each has a price.

Bryan uses historical documents from the 1820's to the 1860's to give the eleven slaves a moving voice. Each slave has a one page spread in which the author uses free verse to tell their story. Bryan imagines their dreams that never come to fruition. Every dream involves freedom from their life as a slave using the talents they have developed. Each picture of the slaves lists their value below and the  illustrative backdrops include actual slavery documents. These illustrations drive home the inhumanity of slavery. The bright colors on the dream pages help open the door of humanity, letting the reader see the light and hope the slaves held onto in their darkest times.

The final page includes the tally of the property owned by the Fairchilds, a sad reminder that humans were once property. The heart of a child will choose to be uplifted by the slaves dreams and will  recognize the inhumanity of slavery. A must read for those who want to understand what it was like to be a slave and not be free to live your dreams.
                                  Rating ★★★★★

                                                                               Publishing Information
                                                  Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (September 13, 2016)
                                                                        ISBN: 978-1-4814-56906
                                                                               Pages: 56
                                                                               Ages: 6-10

This book can be purchased at the following retailer:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ghost by Jason Reynolds: Black History Month Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Nobody had to teach Castle "Ghost" Crenshaw how to run. He learned how to do it when his dad chased his mom and him with a gun and landed in jail for using it. Ghost has run ever since but he can't seem to outrun all of the trouble he gets into at his middle school.

When he finds himself smack center in a training session of a local elite track team called the Defenders, he impulsively challenges one of the runners to prove he can run as fast. The tough Olympic medalist coach can't help but notice Ghost's potential and natural talent. He asks him to join the team. Will the coach help channel Ghost's talent into something productive or will the anger Ghost carries with him get in the way?

As Ghost gets to know his teammates and his coach, the characters develop in a realistic way in which the reader will easily relate. The few white characters are described as such while the other characters are black like Ghost. Reynolds successfully breaks the tape with character development in a book that is sure to give running a boost. One can't help but cheer on the beloved protagonist both on and off the track.

Rating ★★★★★

Publishing Information

Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Aug. 30, 2016)
ISBN: 978-1481450157
Ages: 10 and up
Hardcover: 192 pages

This book can be purchased from the following retailers:

Shop Indie Bookstores

Friday, February 3, 2017

Boys To Books Celebrates Black History Month

I know I'm admitting my age when I write this but I spend so much time reviewing children and young adult books that I don't often get to express why I write here.

I was a prolific reader growing up. I read whatever I could get my hands on. Since I grew up in a low income neighborhood with parents who didn't share the same love of reading, I didn't get very many trips to the public library.

Instead, I looked forward to the arrival of the Bookmobile in my neighborhood. I felt lucky to have a mobile library show up on my street. When I was old enough to go to school and take advantage of the school library, I felt like I was in heaven. My daughter latched on to my love of reading, my sons not so much. This is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. I wanted to light a fire for my sons and make sure they knew that reading wasn't just for girls.

I had one picture book that made a profound impact on my white world. That book, Runaway Slave, introduced me to my first heroine, Harriet Tubman.
Harrit Tubman: Photo public domain via Wikipedia Commons
I read this book over and over, incensed at how slave owners treated other human beings. I became more incensed every time I heard friends or family members make racist comments about my black fellow Americans.  Did they not understand my love for Harriet Tubman? A woman who single handedly saved 70 slaves by putting her life in danger and the lives of others through the Underground Railroad network. I liked to believe I would have been one of those white women who hung my quilt in the window to let those families know I would provide a safe haven. 

As a child, I am ever grateful that my parents let me watch the whole miniseries Roots. I will never forget Kizzy Kinte spitting into her white slave owner's cup of water and how I cheered Kizzy on for that small act of rebellion. I also cheered Kizzy on for learning to read. 

I celebrate Black History month to remind myself how it important it is to treat each other humanely and with love and compassion. I shook my head in disgust when an extended family member posted on his Facebook page about how the Black Lives Matter Movement is racist. I knew he would never understand what it is really all about no matter what I said. However, this is my page and I can rise up up to say I understand why the movement is necessary and why we still have a long way to go in this country in regards to the issue of race. I am glad we get a month to reflect on those African Americans who have contributed so much to our country.

I stand as a white woman to celebrate freedom and respect for all. To tell the world that I'm proud that the heroine of my youth was a black woman and that she still is a beacon of strength in my life. I stand for humanity. I celebrate black history month and the books that touch the lives of so many. I have two books for Black History Month I'll be reviewing in the next few weeks so stay tuned.

In the meantime, join me and comment on this post telling me who your black hero or heroine is and how they have made an impact in your life. (Any racist comments will not be published.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gears of Revolution (Mysteries of the Cove #2) by J. Scott Savage: Book Review

With the mysterious disappearance of Kallista's father, Leo Babbage, Trenton and Kallista work together to sort out the clues he has left behind. After discovering a compass, they set off with it in hand on the home made mechanical dragon they call Ladon. Not only do they hope to find Kallista's father but they also want to learn more about their hidden mountain city of Cove.

Instead they are shot down by a group of Whipjacks and find themselves in a city called Seattle, much different than their own. The people of Seattle have to scavenge their food instead of growing it and have made an alliance with the dragons through offerings. When Kallista and Trenton realize that the Order reveres the dragons, they try to hide the fact that they have killed one.

The Whipjack leader, the 'dimber damber' Cochrane, convinces the Order to let him use Kallista's and Trenton's mechanical skills instead of killing them. Their work just may end up inadvertently help the city gear up for war.

Savage escapes the dreaded boring middle book of a trilogy by skillfully creating a fantasy world, further developing characters, and building a plot that morphs into an intriguing adventure. Steampunk and dragons come together for a unique middle grade adventure sure to elicit excitement that will build throughout the book and have the reader anticipating the third.

Rating ★★★★

Publishing Information
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-62972223-
Pages: 352
Ages: 8-11

This book can be purchased from the following:

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Book Review: Fun Science by Charlie McDonnell Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

You Tube star, Charlie McDonnell thinks science is awesome and he's found a way to make a "Big Bang" with his first book. From the formation of the universe to the inner workings of your body, McDonnell covers a vast array of scientific topics with easy to understand facts. Written from a science fan's point of view instead of a scientist helps the younger reader get a grasp on basic principles.

McDonnell has a way of making facts fun by adding jokes and side notes along the way. For example when he adds the side note, "This rock is deep,, has many layers," it makes it easy for the reader to visualize the concept of a layers of a sedimentary rock.

The best part of Fun Science is that it doesn't have to be read from front to back like a novel. The reader can choose the subject that is the most interesting and start in the middle if he chooses. While the high school or college science enthusiast might find some of the concepts to basic, the budding young scientist will love the introduction to all things science. A fun book that might light the path of  a future astronomer, doctor, geologist, or researcher.


Publishing Information

Publisher: Quadrille Publishing (October 18, 2016)
ISBN 978-1849498029
Hardcover: 224 pages

This book can be purchase through Amazon:

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Footloose by Kenny Loggins and Illustrated by Tim Bowers: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Two youngsters sneak into the zoo after hours and find out what really happens when the guests leave. They find out it's time to get out those dancing shoes and get ready to cut loose with zaniest zoo animals on the planet. From rockin' with the chimpanzees and howlin' with the wolf pack, the youngsters witness all types of footwork in a variety of dancing styles. Even the zookeeper gets in on the fun.

Bowers use of vivid colors and smiling faces will crack a smile from even the grumpiest child. Kenny Loggins change to the lyrics of his infamous song, "Footloose" on the enclosed CD will have every child jumping up to join the animals in their dance. Warning: Do not read this one at bedtime as it's sure to cause spontaneous jumping and dancing on the beds. A sure hit even before the last line is finished. Don't worry about getting the song out of your head, it's programmed to stay a while.

Rating: ★★★★★

Publishing Information

Publisher: Moon Dance Press; Har/Com Edition (October 11, 2016)
ISBN: 978-1633221185
Pages: 28
Ages 4-7

Purchase this book here: